2018 Ojai Vineyard Chardonnay Solomon Hills Vineyard

Year: 2018
Appellation: Santa Maria Valley
Country: USA-California
Vinous Media: 94
Jeb Dunnuck: 96
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
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"The 2018 Chardonnay Solomon Hills is the most overt of the three vineyard-designate Chardonnays I tasted from Ojai. Passionfruit, pineapple, lemon oil and jasmine infuse the 2018 with distinctly tropical overtones. Medium in body and open-knit, the 2018 has plenty to offer. I will admit, though, this is not my favorite expression of Santa Maria Chardonnay." (VM)

"Lastly, and my favorite of the trio, the 2018 Chardonnay Solomon Hills Vineyard comes from a great site located just to the west of Bien Nacido and was raised mostly in neutral barrels. Richer orchard fruits, orange blossom, spice, crushed rocks, and brioche notes define the bouquet of this classic Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, which offers bright acidity and good concentration. It's certainly the richest of the three Chardonnays and is going to evolve for at least 7-8 years.

I continue to love the wines from Adam Tolmach and Fabien Castel. These lean firmly toward the fresher, elegant end of the spectrum, yet I always find the wines to have wonderful depth of fruit, terrific balance, and singular characters." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Solomon Hills has consistently been our most grand-scaled Chardonnay at The Ojai Vineyard. We’ve come to love this wine immensely, so it’s a bittersweet thing that this 2018 bottling will be our last Chardonnay from the vineyard, as the estate has plans for the fruit. We are going out with a bang on this wine, though! 2018 started late and ended late thanks to mild, coastal weather throughout the growing season, and Solomon Hills rendered those events into flamboyantly powerful expression of Chardonnay.

When just opened, the wine comes out swinging with the typical aromatic posse of pine, white flowers, and sea shell minerality. Those elements step into the background with air, as more concentrated fragrances of lemon curd and dried apple come forward, then more layers of chamomile and golden brioche really advance the wine’s richness.

In ways this 2018 Solomon Hills Chardonnay nods to the grand, elegant Chardonnays of Beaune, where Chardonnay shows its most fine balance of acid thrust and flavorful decadence. This wine coats the mouth with fresh white stone fruit, savory pastry and stony minerals, while fine tannins pin down the wine’s path as it makes broad curves across the palate.

This Chardonnay is the most open and accessible of our 2018 Chardonnays at this stage (nearing a year in bottle). Don’t be afraid to age this Chardonnay several years though; even a relatively open Solomon Hills Chardonnay has density that evolves beautifully well upwards of a decade.